Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra is just a stunt and gimmick: Justice Katju

Justice Markandey Katju-

Justice Markandey Katju

Justice Markandey Katju is a former Judge, Supreme Court of India, and former Chairman, Press Council of India. The views expressed are his own.

Rahul Gandhi is leading a Bharat Jodo Yatra ( Unite India March ), from Kanyakumari to Srinagar, which started on 7th September.

Its professed aim is to unite India, which seems presently polarised on religious and caste lines.

In my opinion, this Yatra is just a stunt and a futile attempt to revive the fortunes of the discredited Congress Party, but it will have no effect on Indian politics and society.

It is true that most Indians are deeply polarised on communal and caste lines, and when they go to vote in elections they forget real issues like massive poverty, hunger, unemployment, price rise, lack of healthcare, etc but instead see only caste and religion. But can casteism and communalism be abolished in India by such Yatras? It is naive to think so, and in my opinion, the Yatra is just a gimmick.

Everyone knows that Indian politics runs largely on the basis of caste and religion. Congress was the party that led the Independence Struggle, and on that reputation won many elections after 1947. But its leaders soon realized that the party could not keep winning elections on that reputation for long ( since public memory is short ), and so needed a social base for that purpose. They, therefore, forged an alliance of (1) Dalits or Scheduled Castes (2) Muslims and (3) many Hindu upper castes, particularly Brahmins. In many states, Dalits are about 20% of the population, Muslims about 16-18%, and upper caste Hindus about 16-18%. This caste and religious alliance gave Congress over 50% votes, on which basis Congress swept the polls for decades after 1947.

Later, however, the situation drastically changed. In UP, the largest state in India, Dalits formed their own party called Bahujan Samaj Party, Muslims left Congress after the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992 ( they went over to Mulayam Singh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party in UP, and Lalu Yadav’s RJD in Bihar ), and the upper caste Hindus went over to the BJP. So Congress was left with no vote bank, and hence its seats in the 2014 and 2019 parliamentary elections were drastically reduced ( it got 44 seats in 2014 and 53 in 2019 out of the total 545 seats in the Indian Parliament. BJP got 303 seats in 2019 ).

But like a fish without water, Congress cannot live without power and the loaves of office. It is true that Indian society today is polarised, and atrocities on minorities have increased. But Congress’s professed secularism is just to get back the Muslim vote bank, not for any real concern for the plight of Muslims.

Rahul Gandhi’s secularism was shown by his visiting a record number of Hindu temples in the 2017 Gujarat elections and his much-publicized visit to Lake Mansarovar, apart from being proclaimed as a ‘janeudhari’ Shiva bhakt by his sycophantic acolytes.

Congressmen often talk of fighting fascism. But who imposed the fascism of Emergency in 1975? Who massacred Sikhs in 1984? One family rules Congress, like royalty. Is this democracy? Kharge is sure to win the forthcoming election of Congress President, as that is the dynasty’s wish. He will loyally follow their every command.

The Congress party, particularly after Indira Gandhi, became thoroughly corrupt, with scams following scams, and huge amounts being stacked abroad in Swiss banks or other secret havens. Now it has no credibility.

In my opinion, this Yatra, motivated with an eye on the coming 2024 parliamentary elections, will fool no one, and jodo no one. Communalism and casteism will remain deeply entrenched.


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